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Double Chocolate Black Forest Cake


Double Chocolate Black Forest Cake

This double chocolate black forest cake is a scratch layer cake that’s full of chocolate and cherries. It’s a super moist chocolate cake with cherry filling, whipped cream and then it’s covered in chocolate ganache and fresh cherries.

This cake does take some time and effort to make, but the result is so worth it.

Hey there! Before you scroll, there’s lot’s of important stuff in the post!…including the FAQ section, which may answer any questions you might have about this recipe. Enjoy!

First off, this cake is not for the faint of heart. By that I mean, you are going to spend some time on this one.

Every aspect of this cake is made from scratch and it will just take some time and involvement. Just know that going in.

Personally, I think the time and effort is worth it as this cake turned out amazing, but I’ll leave that for you to decide. 😉

Let’s Talk About Some of The Ingredients in this Black Forest Cake:

Cocoa Powder: Make sure to use natural unsweetened cocoa powder and not Dutch cocoa powder. (I go into why in this post: Which Cocoa Powder Do I Use?)

Buttermilk: Don’t worry about your cake tasting like buttermilk, it won’t. Buttermilk just adds great flavor and moistness. Make sure to check out the FAQ section of this post for substitutions if you absolutely can’t get buttermilk.

Cherries: For this recipe, you’ll use frozen, pitted cherries that have been thawed for about a day.

Coffee: No, your cake will not taste like coffee. It just brings out the chocolate flavor. (See the FAQ section below for substitutions.)

Mini Chocolate Chips: You’ll use the mini chocolate chips for this recipe as they don’t sink to the bottom as bad as the full sized chocolate chips.

Heavy Cream/Whipping Cream: This is not the same thing as whipped cream or Cool Whip. This will be in the milk section of the store and labeled either heavy cream or whipping cream (not whipped cream in the frozen section).

Regular sized semi-sweet chocolate chips: You’ll use these to make the ganache.

Mixing Method for this cake:

The mixing method is simple for this one. You’re really just mixing the dry ingredients together in one bowl, then the liquid in another bowl (except for the warm coffee).

Then you’ll mix it all together and add in the coffee, mini chocolate chips and the cherries, then bake.

It will take time making the other aspects of the cake like the filling, whipped topping, ganache, but just follow the assembly instructions in the recipe below and you’ll be just fine.

Tips & FAQs for making a black forest cake:

What’s the difference between black forest cake and regular chocolate cake?

Black forest cake is chocolate cake with cherries either in the batter, as a filling, or both and it’s usually covered in whipped cream and chocolate ganache.

Make sure to read the instructions in the recipe card all the way through…even the assembly instructions.

You’ll need to make certain things in order, so you want to prepare for that.

Make sure to use thawed cherries that are pitted.

I used frozen one,s because that makes it super easy.

Can I use fresh cherries?

Sure, but you need to make sure they’ve been pitted.

Why does the recipe say not to use Dutch processed cocoa powder?

Dutch processed cocoa powder is not acidic and natural unsweetened is. Generally natural unsweetened cocoa powder has a stronger taste for baked goods.

If you use Dutch processed, you would have to adjust the recipe to replace the baking soda, since baking soda is used for acidic ingredients, but just know that subbing out baking powder for baking soda doesn’t exactly work because they are not the same.

You’d have to make some changes that may or may not work out, so it’s easier to just go with what the recipe calls for if you can get it.

Can I substitute buttermilk?

Yes, but frankly using real buttermilk is best. If you’re concerned about the cake tasting like buttermilk, it won’t.

Buttermilk has been used in cakes for ages because it just enhances the flavor and adds to the moistness.

If you can’t get buttermilk though, you can substitute it as follows: For every cup of buttermilk called for, add one tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup. Add in milk to fill the measuring cup to 1 full cup. Stir and allow to sit for 5 minutes before using it.

I don’t like coffee (or have coffee), do I have to use it?

No, but your cake won’t taste like coffee if you do use it. It just brings out the chocolate flavor. If you don’t have it and absolutely don’t want to use it, you can just use warm water instead, but don’t omit the liquid.

Use heavy cream (or whipping cream) when making the whipped cream and not already whipped cream, or Cool Whip.

Whipping cream (or it’s sometimes called heavy cream) is not the same thing as Cool Whip or already whipped cream.

One, scratch whipped cream is much tastier and two, the whipped cream in this recipe is a stabilized whipped cream, which means it’s going to hold up MUCH better than if you were to use Cool Whip.

Plus the scratch version here doesn’t leave a greasy film in your mouth like prepared whipped cream can sometimes do.

I don’t have a stand mixer. Can I still make this cake?

Yes, you absolutely can. Your arm just might get a little tired holding the mixer while you beat the whipping cream, but it can be done.

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. 

Supplies used for this cake:

Ok let’s get to the recipe!

**By the way, this recipe was developed and tested using volume measurements (cups etc.). I do this because most people are used to measuring, instead of weighing. You may use the metric converter button to see the weight (gram) measurements. Those numbers are estimates on weight. Your results may vary a bit if you use the weight measurements.

Double Chocolate Black Forest Cake

This double chocolate black forest cake is a scratch layer cake that's full of chocolate and cherries. A moist chocolate cake with cherry filling, whipped cream and then covered in ganache.
Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time35 mins
Thawing Cherries1 d
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 983kcal
Author: Kara Jane @ I Scream for Buttercream


For the Cake:

  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed-see FAQ section)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick softened)
  • cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk (see notes for substitution)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup thawed, pitted frozen cherries (mashed well and drained) (see notes about defrosting)
  • 1 cup warm coffee (or warm water instead-it should be warm, but not so hot that it will end up melted the chocolate chips)
  • 1 ½ cup mini chocolate chips (use the mini chips, not the fill sized chips as those are too large and can end up sinking to the bottom)
  • Chocolate sprinkles (for garnish)
  • Fresh cherries (for garnish)

For the Cherry Filling:

  • 3 cups thawed pitted frozen cherries (with juice drained out)
  • cup sugar
  • cup water
  • 1 ½ tablespoon cornstarch

For the Whipped Cream:

  • 2 cups cold heavy cream (sometimes called whipping cream…NOT cool whip or ‘whipped’ cream)
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoon cornstarch

For the Chocolate Ganache Drip:

  • 1 cup heavy cream (or whipping cream)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (regular size, not mini)


For the Cake:

  • Set your frozen cherries in the fridge to thaw overnight or for at least a day. Make sure to add the frozen cherries to a colander to drain the juice and add a bowl under it to collect the juice. Do not throw away the juice. Add it to a bowl and keep it chilled until ready to use it later.
  • Take out one cup of the defrosted cherries and mash them up very well. Drain off the juice. Save that juice with the other you drained from defrosting the cherries. Set the bowl of mashed cherries aside as you'll use that for your cake batter.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 8 inch round pans. (If you only have two pans, don't try to bake all the batter in only two pans, it's too much.) (Just pour a ⅓ of the batter into each of your two pans and chill the rest of the batter covered while your cakes bake. Once they're baked and removed from their pans, clean one of your pans and then bake the remaining batter in it.)
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients: The all purpose flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, packed brown sugar and granulated sugar. Whisk well and set aside.
  • In another bowl add the liquid ingredients: The softened butter, oil, extract, buttermilk, eggs and the mashed cherries (do not add the warm coffee yet). Mix well.
  • Do not worry if your butter clumps up a bit. It will be fine. Just keep going.
  • Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and mix on medium just until combined.
  • Add the warm coffee and mix again just until everything is well combined. (You can add the coffee in two parts so that the batter doesn't splash.)
  • Don't mix the batter for several minutes, that's too long. Stop mixing once everything is combined well.
  • Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix again for about 10 seconds.
  • Add the mini chocolate chips and mix in by hand.
  • Pour into three greased and floured 8 inch round pans and bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 35-40 minutes. (See above if you only have two pans.)
  • Set on wire racks to cool for about ten minutes, then turn out the cake layers onto the racks and remove from the pans to cool completely.
  • Make sure your cake layers are cooled completely before assembling.

For the Cherry Filling:

  • Add the three cups of thawed and drained, pitted cherries, sugar, and water to saucepan and heat on medium until the sugar dissolves. Stir periodically.
  • Once the sugar is dissolved, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. You want the liquid to cook down a bit.
  • Add a bit of the cherry mixture to a bowl or a shaker and then add the cornstarch into that mixture. Mix well or shake if using a shaker. (This is to prevent the cornstarch from clumping once it's added back to the cherry mixture.)
  • Now add the cherry and cornstarch mixture back into the cherry mixture in the saucepan and stir in well.
  • Cook the mixture for another few minutes or so over low heat until the mixture thickens.
  • Pour the cherry filling into a bowl and let it cool down a bit. Once it has cooled somewhat, cover it well and chill it in the fridge until you're ready to add it to your cake..
  • Make sure you don’t add hot or warm cherry compote to your cake as it will cause the whipped buttercream to melt and you’ll have a huge mess.

For the Whipped Cream:

  • (If you want to cover your entire cake with the whipped cream and not just a crumb coat, you’ll want to make a double batch of the whipped cream.)
  • Add the heavy cream to a large bowl and beat on high with a whisk attachment or electric beaters. Slowly add in the confectioner's sugar and mix well. Add in the cornstarch and mix well. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and then beat on high until stiff peaks form.
  • Add to a cooled cake per assembly instructions below.

For the Chocolate Ganache Drip:

  • Add the chocolate chips to a medium sized bowl and set aside. (Make sure this is a bowl that can handle hot liquids.)
  • Add the cream to a small saucepan and heat on medium to medium/high until it begins to gently simmer. Do not let it boil and watch it closely so that it doesn’t burn. It helps to continuously stir it.
  • As soon as it looks like it’s about to boil, take the pan off the heat source and pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips.
  • Don’t stir it yet, just let it sit like that for about ten minutes and then stir it. You want to stir it slowly because you don’t want to whip bubbles into it. Stir it until it is smooth.
  • If there are still a few chocolate bits that aren’t melted, go ahead and microwave it for about 30 seconds and stir it again.
  • Set the bowl aside and let it cool until it’s drip consistency. (It could take anywhere from 20 minutes to almost an hour depending on your environment.)
  • You can add your ganache to a squeeze bottle to easily drip it onto the cake, or you can just use a spoon. Also make sure your cake is cool or cold when you add the warm ganache.

Timeline and How To Assemble:

  • Make sure your cake, cherry filling, cherry juice and whipped cream are all chilled.
  • Add a layer of the cake onto a cake plate. (It helps to level the tops of your cakes.)
  • Top with a bit of cherry juice (several tablespoons) that was drained from your cherries.
  • Next add a thin layer of the whipped buttercream on top. You can also pipe a whipped cream icing dam around the the cake to keep the cherry filling from squishing out.
  • Add half the cherry filling.
  • Add another layer of the cake, cherry juice, thin layer of whipped cream, the icing dam and the last half of the cherry filling.
  • Add the last layer of cake and add a bit more of the cherry juice.
  • Cover the entire cake with a layer of whipped buttercream. Make sure to reserve a bit of the buttercream to pipe some nice swirls on the top. (If you want more than a thin layer of whipped cream, you’ll want to make double the amount of whipped cream.)
  • Add chocolate jimmies to the bottom of the cake. (optional)
  • Pop your cake into the fridge an let it chill and firm up a bit. (About 20-30 minutes or so.)
  • Add the ganache to the top and let it drip down the sides a bit. You can use a spoon or you can add the ganache to a squeeze bottle. Just make sure your ganache isn’t super hot and that your cake is cold. Also add the ganache to the top of your cake, so that it completely covers the top and then drips down the sides.
  • Pop the cake back into the fridge to chill for another five minutes.
  • Lastly, pipe on a few swirls of the whipped buttercream around the top of your cake and add a cherry to each one.
  • Enjoy!



Keep this cake covered and in the fridge as the whipped cream is perishable and it is a softer icing.

Buttermilk Substitute: Buttermilk will give you the best results, but if you can’t get it, you can use this substitute – For every cup of buttermilk called for, add one tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup. Add in milk to fill the measuring cup to 1 full cup. Stir and allow to sit for 5 minutes before using it.

Make sure to watch the video for any questions on mixing and assembling this cake.

Make sure to check out the TIPS & FAQs for this recipe in the blog post, which may answer questions about substitutions, mixing and assembling.

Nutritional values are an estimate.

*This recipe card may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifyingpurchases.

*This recipe card may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


Calories: 983kcal | Carbohydrates: 118g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 56g | Saturated Fat: 36g | Cholesterol: 149mg | Sodium: 504mg | Potassium: 508mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 85g | Vitamin A: 1291IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 167mg | Iron: 4mg
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Ok, that is a LONG recipe and I know it’s super involved, but to me if you’re going to make Black Forest Cake, then go all out. It’s so worth it!

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